Friday, July 18, 2008

Pakistan waiting for ICC Champions Trophy Go Ahead

Pakistan will find out on Sunday if they can host the Champions Trophy in September as security concerns continue to be a causer for concern. The ICC said all eight participating teams will receive security briefings about the nature of the problems in Pakistan at their Dubai headquarters over the weekend.

A suicide bombing in Islamabad earlier this month which killed 19 people renewed the fears of staging the yea's big one-day tournament in Pakistan.Players from England, Australia and New Zealand have already expressed concerns about playing in Pakistan - where Indian, South Africa, Sri Lanka and the West Indies join the hosts.Pakistan officials will now have to wait until Sunday to see if they can stage the tournament, which is due to be held in Karachi, Rawalpindi and Lahore.

"The timing of the briefing was agreed upon during the ICC's annual conference in early July to allow the ICC's security consultants to provide a comprehensive report," said an ICC statement.
"Prior to the meeting, the ICC will not indulge in speculation and, at this stage, the tournament will proceed in Pakistan, as scheduled."

The ICC has said it could move the tournament away from Pakistan if the threat of violence is too strong, although they did successfully host the Asia Cup recently.
The Pakistan Cricket Board are keen to insist that they can successfully stage the Champions Trophy and believe there is no need for it to be moved.

"We have assured fool-proof security measures for the Champions Trophy," said PCB chief operating officer Shafqat Naghmi."There is no reason for us to believe that the tournament will be relocated from Pakistan.

"Everything that needs to be done has been done to ensure that the Champions Trophy is held smoothly and safely."We've informed the ICC, the security experts and the competing nations about it and now hope that all the stakeholders will consider it objectively."
Sri Lanka is a designated alternative venue for the tournament, but Interim Committee chief Arjuna Ranatunga has said they would be happy to play in Pakistan."We have no problem in playing in Pakistan," the former captain said."Pakistan hosted six teams very well recently at the Asia Cup and I was there for the final. It was very well organised.
"As far as we are concerned, the championship is still in Pakistan. But we have been told to be on standby mode."England and South Africa have also been mooted as possible alternative venues as Sri Lanka themselves have been facing violence between Tamil Tiger rebels and government troops.

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